Clay came out swinging and knocked out his mum for the first time. Odessa remarked on a 1978 episode of the television show This Is Your Life featuring Ali. "And he was quite powerful and had large muscled arms when he was 18 months old."
His mother continued to comment on his career until her death in 1981 at the age of 60. She was buried next to him in Louisville.
Ali's father, James Brown/Ali, died when he was four years old. His mother married a second husband who gave Clay the name "Cassius Marcellus Clay". He had two older sisters named Helene and Lucille.
After their father died, Clay and his sisters were raised by their maternal grandmother. When they were young, they were also cared for by their uncle, Georgeanna Lee Jones, and her husband, Johnnie Lee Jones. They had three children of their own and were good friends with the Ali family. The girls learned how to box from their parents before they even knew what boxing was. When they were nine years old, they had a fight against two other girls who didn't want them to win. Clay even won that fight thanks to some help from his manager, Howard Bingham.
During this time, he also started going to school. Every day, he would walk eight blocks to Rockwood High School where he finished the ninth grade.
Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky, United States. He is a professional boxer and social activist from the United States. Ali was the first fighter to win the world heavyweight title three times in a row. After his third victory, he changed his name to reflect his religious beliefs (Ali means "the faithful" in Arabic). Around the time he became famous for his boxing skills, he also gained notoriety as a political activist, particularly against racial discrimination. In 1975, he founded the Nation of Islam, a black nationalist movement, with approximately 1 million followers worldwide.
Clay attended local schools in Louisville and then went to The Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where he trained to become an auto mechanic. After only one year at Tuskegee, he quit school to pursue a career in boxing. He worked various jobs to afford his training expenses while developing his own style of fighting that combined powerful hooks and jabs with high kicks and head-butts. In 1964, he won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in the light heavyweight division by defeating France's Alfredo Marcano in the final match.
After his success at the Tokyo Games, Ali turned pro (meaning he started earning money through fights) and quickly became one of the most popular athletes in America. He was known for his aggressive fighting style and his role as a civil rights activist.
Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., the first of Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr. and Odessa Grady Clay's two sons, was born on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky.
Muhammad Ali's influence extended well beyond the boxing arena. The renowned boxer is also well-known in the United States for his political activities and struggle against prejudice. In 1964, Ali celebrates his victory over Sonny Liston.
Young Muhammad Ali defeats Sonny Liston to win their first world title. Cassius Clay, 22, dethroned world heavyweight boxing title Sonny Liston in a seventh-round technical knockout on February 25, 1964, shocking the oddsmakers. The fight was held at Miami's Dade County Auditorium.
Clay had been training for this fight since late 1963, when he left his job as a bus boy to pursue a career in boxing. He traveled across America giving speeches and raising money before finally arriving in Miami for the final pre-fight workout with coach Eddie Futch.
During these sessions, he decided to change his fighting style by taking more punches from his opponent. This new approach worked: After being knocked down twice by Liston in the third round, Clay came back to beat him up, outbox him, and eventually knock him out in the seventh round.
After winning his first world title, Clay refused to be drafted into the United States Army, so the government charged him with violating U.S. law by refusing to serve in the military. He was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison, but he continued to fight while incarcerated. His conviction was later overturned on a legal technicality. When he returned to the ring after being released from prison, he established himself as one of the top fighters in the world.
Childhood His father was a sign painter who also liked to perform, sing, and dance; when money was tight, his mother worked as a cleaning lady. Ali began boxing when he was twelve years old. His bicycle had been stolen, and he reported it to a police officer called Joe Martin, who taught boxing at a local youth center. Martin took a liking to the young boxer and helped him with his training.
Ali's parents wanted him to be an architect like his father but he wanted to be a boxer from a very young age. His father tried to persuade him against it but failed. He trained daily with Joe Martin for eight months before he even saw his first fight. In 2001, at the age of 36, he finally fought on British soil for the first time when he faced off against Henry Cooper in Liverpool. The match drew large crowds and was considered one of the best fights of all time because it was so competitive. At one point, both men were down on their knees fighting over a hold. After three hours, Cooper won by TKO (technical knockout) after Ali was repeatedly hit on the head with a closed fist. Following this defeat, he retired from boxing but decided to come out of retirement four years later.
During his second retirement, he worked as a taxi driver in Detroit, delivered meals on wheels in Birmingham, England, worked as a security guard in Las Vegas, and did some work as a trampoline salesman. In 2015, he returned to the ring for a third time.